This past year, we’ve all been spending more time at home. Therefore, it’s likely that we’ve all amassed our share of clutter. Decluttering and eliminating junk is therapeutic and a good way to reset the tone for our homes. Spring is around the corner and spring cleaning gives us a reason (not that we need one) to organize our space. Here are 15 things to declutter in your home right now.
1. Cell Phone Box
If you bought your phone 2 years ago, it’s time to toss that box it came in. While you’re at it, take inventory of any other random boxes (jewelry boxes, we’re looking at you) hanging around and toss them as well.
2. Old Jewelry
Since you’re going through the boxes, you might as well go through the jewelry. If you’re still storing your jewelry in the boxes, then it’s time to invest in a jewelry organizer. Toss or donate any jewelry you don’t wear. Use the 1 year rule of thumb – if you haven’t worn it in the past year – it’s time to say goodbye.
3. Stained Clothes
We get the idea of “yard work” or “paint” clothes – clothes that you keep to wear for when you know you’re going to get dirty or messy. But no need to keep all of your stained clothes for these few occasions.
4. Old Paint Cans
Check with your local municipality on how to dispose of old paint. Most paints, if they’re properly stored, can last up to 10 years. However, when you’re going through your paint cans, consider the color, type, how much is left, and how long it’s been sitting there. If you can’t use it (or haven’t used it in years), clear it out.
5. Button Collection
Most clothes that have buttons include an extra one in case you lose one. This can lead to a large button collection and when the time comes to sew on a new one, good luck finding the match. Do yourself a favor and get rid of all those old buttons. If you must keep them, store in a nice jar or container.
6. Excess Amounts of Kid’s Artwork
We know it’s hard to part with anything handmade by your children. But chances are, they make several drawings and artwork on a weekly basis. Instead of saving every last piece, select 2-3 that are the most meaningful and display them proudly. Or, you can create a keepsake box for sentimental items from your kids and add the artwork to it. You still won’t be able to keep it all, but this way you can store the artwork in an organized way.
Since we’re on the subject of kids, let’s tackle their toy bin next. So many toys come with multiple little pieces and it’s so easy for them to get lost. Spend an hour or two going through all of your kid’s toys, books, puzzles, games, etc. and toss anything that has missing pieces, is damaged, they’ve outgrown, or is never used. Toys in good condition can be donated or consigned. We suggest that you tackle this decluttering task when your kids are asleep or not at home. This purge project will be much more successful if you do.
8. Takeout Utensils and Sauces
If you keep all of the plastic utensils and sauces every time you get takeout, they’re likely taking up space in your silverware or junk drawer. Toss them or put them all in a Ziploc bag and store in your car for when you’re traveling or out for a picnic. While you’re at it, it’s a good time to go through all of the takeout menus. Toss any duplicates, ones you don’t order from, or all of them. Most places now have online menus and order options.
If you keep your receipts for accounting purposes, file them away in a file folder and organize by date. Or, scan them into your computer so that you have a digital file. There’s several scanning apps available for your phone and if you have an iPhone, there’s a built-in feature when using the Notes app. Throw away once they’ve been digitally filed or are no longer needed. If they contain sensitive information, shred them.
It’s a good idea to go through your mail at least once a week. Sort out all of the junk mail and put it in the trash. Keep important mail and if response is required, make sure to do so in a timely manner. Opt-in for paperless bills and statements whenever possible.
11. Writing Utensils/Stationary
Locate any pens, highlighters, or pencils that don’t work or are out of ink and put in the trash. If there’s old notepads laying around that aren’t important or in use, toss them too.
12. Expired Pantry Items
Go through your pantry and purge anything that’s expired. Believe it or not, baking essentials and spices do have a shelf life and if you use expired ingredients, it might affect the dish.
13. Old Linens and Towels
You don’t deserve to sleep on worn out sheets. Go through all of your linens – sheets, towels, washcloths, kitchen textiles and sort out anything that’s ratty, stained, or mismatched. If you feel bad about tossing them, consider donating them to your local animal shelter.
14. Electronics Cords & Cables
It seems like everything comes with some sort of cord or cable these days. Unless it’s something you use daily, it can be hard to keep track of them all. The good news? Most cords and ports are fairly universal and you can easily find a compatible match. So ditch all your duplicates and keep a few USB cables, extension cords, and Apple/Android compatible cords. Invest in a cable organizer and use cord labels so you know which cord goes with which product/device.
15. Expired Medicine
It’s easy for medicine to accumulate over time. Go through your medicine cabinet and clear out expired over the counter products as well as old prescriptions. Contact your local pharmacy about their drug recycling program. Most pharmacies like Rite Aid and CVS have a convenient drop box for expired medications.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a start. If you’re located in one of our markets (Denver, Dallas, or Pittsburgh) and need in-person decluttering help, we’d love to chat! If you need help digitally decluttering, let our virtual team do the work for you! Reach out to us at 303-957-7149 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free consultation!